In Italy dialects are spoken which represent a direct continuation of Latinity; for civil and literary uses, Italian is used, a language that originates from the fourteenth-century Florentine of Dante, F. Petrarca and G. Boccaccio. ● The differences between political boundaries and linguistic boundaries are not relevant. Italian as a cultural and official language is used not only in the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City, but also in the Canton of Ticino and in three valleys (Mesolcina, Bregaglia, Poschiavo) of the Canton of Grisons: consequently, it is one of the official languages of the Swiss Confederation. Italian dialects are spoken in Corsica (Corsican dialects; the cultural and administrative language is French) and in the cities of Istria (dialects of the Venetian type, and of a particular archaic type, Istrian). An Arabic dialect is spoken in Malta, but Italian has been used for centuries as the only cultural language. Italian is widespread in African territories already politically subject to Italy, and among Italian emigrants in various parts of the world. Within the political borders there are alloglot territories.
Characters of Italian
The structure of Italian, in comparison with the other neo-Latin languages or with the languages of other families, presents typical characters. Normal Italian has a phonological system in which the vowels (7 tonic, i, é, è, a, ò, ó, u, and 5 unstressed, i, é, a, ó, u) are distinctly articulated; words usually end with a vowel. There are scempie (simple) and strengthened consonants, and consonant clusters. The accent does not have a grammatically determinable location (as on the other hand in languages that place it permanently on the first, on the penultimate, on the last vowel of each word), but each word has its accent in a fixed location. Nouns have two genders and two numbers. Italian has many alterative suffixes (augmentives, diminutives, pejoratives, etc.) widely applicable to nouns and to some adjectives and verbs. Great freedom presents the placement of words in the sentence. The lexicon is of considerable wealth.
They are very different from each other: the diversity is due in part to the distribution of the lineages that occupied the territories of the peninsula before the imposition of Latin, in part to the effect of the barbarian invasions in the early Middle Ages, in part to particularism and fragmentation politics that have characterized Italian events for centuries. While in Tuscany and in the neighboring area of Umbria and northern Lazio there is no conflict between the national language and the different spoken languages, in Italy northern and southern and in the islands the language is limited in its use by local dialects, still used in informal communicative situations. ● The Italian dialects are classified into: Gallo-Italic dialects, that is, the Piedmontese, Ligurian, Lombard, Emilia-Romagna dialects, so called because they have an affinity with the French and Provençal dialects, due to a common Gallic linguistic substrate; Venetian dialects, among which Trentino is distinguished from the Veneto proper, whose Western languages have Lombard characteristics; Tuscan dialects, in which alongside the Florentine, which historically had a pre-eminent position, there are the western (Lucca, Pisa, Livorno), southern (Siena), eastern (Arezzo, Cortona) dialects; Corsican dialects (and northern Sardinians), which were significantly affected by the Tuscan influence, exercised in the late Middle Ages; Median dialects, that is the dialects of Lazio and of a narrow corridor in Umbria, in the central and southern Marche and in northern Abruzzo, which constitute a transition group between the Tuscan and southern dialects; it includes the modern Romanesque, which it supplanted in the 16th century. the previous southern type dialect; Southern dialects, in which a ‘Neapolitan’ type (southern Lazio, Abruzzo, Campania, Lucanian, northern Apulian dialects) and a ‘Sicilian’ type (Salento, Calabrian, Sicilian dialects) are distinguished.
Complete the picture of Italy dialectal three other groups of spoken, of an archaic type: the Ladin, the Sardinian and the Istrian.